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Navy and Marine Corps Medical News 


October 6, 2000 

Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is a weekly 
compendium of news and information contributed by commands 
throughout the Navy medical department . Information contained in 
MEDNEWS stories is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of 
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be considered 
official Navy policy. 

BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and Marines, their 
families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine Corps 
families. Further distribution is highly encouraged. 

Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy 
medical professional 's name to show affiliation: MC - Medical 
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC - 
Medical Service Corps (clinicians, researchers and 
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental 
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their names. 

Contents for this week's MEDNEWS: 

— DoD announces plan to manage flu vaccine delay 

— NMCP offers new treatment for hearing loss 

— On board therapist keeps Sailors on the job 

— Medical organization selects Navy Captain as president-elect 

— Anthrax question and answer 

— TRICARE question and answer 

— Healthwatch: Breast cancer detection is in your hands 



Headline: DoD announces plan to manage flu vaccine delay 
From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

Washington — In response to a national delay in receiving 
influenza vaccine for the 2000—2001 influenza season, the 
Department of Defense (DoD) announced a plan for prioritizing 
immunizations to maintain optimal military readiness and protect 
their most vulnerable populations . 

According to the Center for Disease Control and 
Prevention, shipment of the vaccine has been delayed because 
manufacturers had difficulty growing a new flu strain. 
Additionally, two of the four pharmaceutical companies that 

provide the vaccine have had production problems. One such 
company supplies nearly 2.5 million doses to the armed forces. 
The military generally uses 2.8 million doses to cover all 
active duty and eligible beneficiaries . 

"Influenza epidemics in the United States typically occur 
in the winter and early spring. We expect that even with the 
delay, we will have enough time to adequately protect all of the 
beneficiaries for whom we are responsible, " said Col . Dana 
Bradshaw, Chair of the Joint Preventive Medicine Policy Group. 

There are currently 230, 000 doses available at the Defense 
Supply Center Philadelphia. Available supplies will be given 
first to operational forces, health— care workers with direct 
patient contact and both active duty and non-active duty Defense 
Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) enrollees who 
have high— risk medical conditions . 

Military trainees along with personnel in close contact 
with high-risk patients will be next in line to receive the 
vaccine, followed by all other military members in priority for 
deployment, other active duty members and mission critical 
civilians in overseas facilities. 

DoD influenza vaccination campaigns have been delayed 
until early to mid November, pending receipt of adequate 
supplies of vaccine. 

"The greatest number of hospitalizations and deaths 
[caused by influenza] are in elderly people or children and 
adults with high risk medical conditions , " Bradshaw said. "We 
encourage others to be patient and wait to get vaccinated until 
those at highest risk can be protected. " 

The DoD is working with the CDC and the Advisory Committee 
on Immunization Practices, a panel that advises the CDC, in 
responding to this vaccine delay. 

For more information on the delay of the influenza 
vaccine, visit the Navy Medicine website at, the TRICARE website at and the CDC 
website at 


Headline: NMCP offers new treatment for hearing loss 
By Naval Medical Center Portsmouth 

PORTSMOUTH, Va . - Naval Medical Center Portsmouth became 
the first military facility to offer a brand new surgical 
alternative for patients suffering from hearing loss. It is an 
implant designed to work with the natural structures of the 
middle ear to improve hearing and communication abilities for 
people with hearing impairment . 

Shortly after the Food and Drug Administration approved 
the device, a Navy retiree suffering from sensorineural hearing 
loss underwent the three-hour outpatient surgical implant 
procedure at the medical center. 

According to Capt . Lorenz F. Lassen, director of Surgical 
Services for NMCP and the operation's surgeon, making this 
innovative technology available enhances the quality of life for 
the military population suffering from hearing loss. 

"Hearing aids are a covered benefit for military 

personnel. We incorporated this treatment alternative because it 
enhances conanunication by reducing feedback and providing better 
gain in high frequencies . " Lassen explained that unlike 
conventional hearing aids, the new implant does not cover the 
ear canal, which significantly decreases the risk of moisture 
buildup and ear infections. 

Currently, NMCP provides about 300 sets of hearing aids 
per year to active duty patients . Lassen stated that only 
current hearing aid users would be considered for receiving an 
implant . "I am unsure about how many of these hearing aid users 
would choose to have a surgical implant, but the number is 
probably between 20 to 30 percent, which means 60 to 90 patients 
per year. " 

Attacking hearing loss in the Navy is a combined effort. 
It includes an aggressive hearing conservation program, regular 
testing and a team of health care professionals who make the 
latest technological advances available to meet the needs of 
patients . 


Headline: On-board therapist keeps Sailors on the job 
By J03 Eric Durie, USS Harry S. Truman 

NORFOLK, Va. - The most qualified physical therapist in 
the Navy can't be found at any hospital or clinic. In fact, she 
chooses to avoid them. 

Cmdr. Erin Patterson, USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) 
physical therapist, is board-certified in three clinical 
specialties. The Bermuda native is the only therapist of the 80 
in the Navy with those credentials, and is on board Truman for 
her second consecutive tour aboard a deploying carrier. 

Patterson is certified by the American Board of Physical 
Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in orthopedic and sports physical 
therapy . She is one of only 50 physical therapists in the 
country certified by the ABPTS in two specialties . There are 
75,000 practicing physical therapists in the United States. 

Being able to perform orthopedic physical therapy is 
important on a carrier, considering 40 percent of the injuries 
she treats are orthopedic in nature. 

"The Navy offers me an opportunity to practice direct 
access, " Patterson said. "In a civilian setting you can't just 
grab patients off the street, but here if I see someone limping 
I can ask them why they're limping and immediately set up an 
appointment with them. It 's front line intervention . " 

Two-and-a-half years ago, Patterson became the first 
physical therapist assigned to a carrier when she was given 
orders to USS Enterprise (CVN 65) as part of an experiment to 
determine the effectiveness of shipboard physical therapy. 

During her time on Enterprise, Patterson proved the value 
of having a physical therapist on board. According to Patterson, 
during her five-weeks at sea the ship had no non-surgical 
medevacs . 

"We treat over 400 Sailors each month, " said Patterson. "I 
consider us industrial athletes. Most of the injuries we get are 
sports-related types, and just like athletes, we can 't afford to 
just go to bed and rest up. We've got a job to do. " 

A Sailor who had recently dislocated his knee on board was 
back on his feet in two hours following treatment by Patterson. 

"We 're not just at sea because we drew the short straw, " 
she said. "We have a tremendous amount of experience out here. 
We definitely don't just hand out aspirin." 

If she has her way, Patterson will practice physical 
therapy in the Navy for a long time. 

"I'll go over 20 years in service during our upcoming 
deployment, " she said. "I want to stay as long as they let me. " 


Headline: Medical organization selects Navy Captain as 

From American Academy of Family Physicians 

DALLAS, Tx. — The American Academy of Family Physicians 
Congress of Delegates has elected Capt. Warren A. Jones, MC, as 
president-elect of its organization. 

Jones will become the organization 's president in October 
2001. He previously served three years on the AAFP's board of 
directors, a position he has held since 1997 . As president- 
elect, Jones will represent the Academy at press conferences, 
other medical organization meetings and congressional hearings 
on a variety of medical issues. He will also help develop 
Academy policy. 

As a Captain in the Navy, Jones has traveled extensively 
and is now stationed in the Washington, D.C. area. 

He has extensive medical teaching experience, which 
includes serving as special assistant to the U.S. Surgeon 
General for Physical Qualifications and Review and as director 
of undergraduate medical education. He also served as Director 
of Residency Training in the Department of Family Practice at 
Naval Hospital Pensacola and as chair of the Department of 
Family Practice at Naval Hospital Charleston. 

Before moving to Washington, Jones served as Director of 
Medical and Clinical Services for the TRICARE Pacific Region. He 
was responsible for the coordination of access to health care 
for the Department of Defense personnel in Alaska, Hawaii, the 
Pacific Rim, and from Asia to the western coast of Madagascar . 


Headline: Anthrax question and answer 

Question: Formaldehyde is not approved for human 
consumption. Why is it used in the anthrax and other vaccines? 

Answer: Material Safety Data Sheets correctly warn people 
not to swallow formaldehyde. Small amounts of formaldehyde are 
approved by the FDA for use in manufacturing several vaccines, 
including vaccines against anthrax, diphtheria, hepatitis A, 
influenza, Japanese encephalitis, and tetanus. 
A small amount of formaldehyde, less than 2 parts per 10, 000 

(0.02%), is permitted by FDA to remain in the anthrax vaccine. 
Formaldehyde has been used in vaccine manufacturing since the 
1960s, if not earlier . Literally billions of people around the 
world have been given tetanus toxoid processed with formaldehyde 

(as anthrax vaccine is), which is generally recognized as safe. 
FDA closely monitors all the ingredients and processing steps of 
all vaccines and other medications before they can be 

distributed for widespread use. 

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are a method to explain 
chemical hazards, according to OSHA standards (see www. osha— For any given chemical, 
health hazards vary by amount of chemical (concentration) , 
duration of exposure (time), and route of exposure (skin, 
stomach, lungs, etc.). 

FDA's decision to permit formaldehyde to be present as residues 
in vaccines is based, in part, on the low concentrations and 
infrequent exposures involved. Minute doses of formaldehyde in 
vaccines are generally recognized as safe. 


Headline: TRICARE question and answer 

Question: If I choose to disenroll after I have enrolled 
in TRICARE Prime, what penalty is incurred? Can I get back into 
TRICARE Prime if I don't like the other options? 

Answer: If the enrollment fee was paid in one payment, you 
will not receive a refund. Enrollment is for 12 months, unless 
you move from the area or lose eligibility; if you disenroll 
early you are eligible to re-enroll in 12 months. 


Headline: Healthwatch: Breast cancer detection is in your hands 
By Bill Doughty, US Naval Hospital Yokosuka 

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Women don't have to be in the dark about 
breast cancer. Help is at their fingertips. 

Health care professionals at Yokosuka recently attended a 
course to improve their awareness of new techniques in 
detection, prevention, and treatment . The course reinforced the 
importance of early detection through breast self-exams . 

Capt. Melissa Kaime, director of the Breast Health Center 
at Navy Medical Center San Diego and senior instructor of the 
course, said, "Self breast examinations are very important in 
several regards. It 's important for a woman to learn how to do a 
very careful monthly self breast examination. That woman will 
then know her breast better than anybody else and know when 
there is a minor little lump that otherwise might not be able to 
be felt . " 

Self-exams can be taught and reinforced by health care 
providers . 

"Breast self examination is an important thing for all 
women to learn from a very young age and to continue that 
throughout the life cycle." said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Jagoe, Staff 
Physician at NMC San Diego. "It 's through a history and close 
physical exam that increase risk may be identified. " 

Jagoe recommends annual screening by a health care 
provider . 

"The good news is that we are finding more breast cancer, 
and the reason we're doing that is because we're doing more 
mammograms, " said Kaime. "We're finally getting the word out 
that mammograms are very important and should be done every year 
for women over the age of 40. And, by that we're able to find 
breast cancers at a very early, treatable stage. " 

To learn more about healthy lifestyles that can prevent 
breast cancer, call Health Promotion at 243— 2615 . 


Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome . Story 
submissions are highly encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor, at 
email:; telephone 202—762—3218, (DSN) 
762, or fax 202-762-3224.